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Old 03-16-2001, 10:31 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 15
I recently acquired a 1988 560SL that had been in storage five years. Has 20600, yes,20600 miles. I can't do any mechanical work on it, so have to rely on the MB dealer. I'd like some experienced opinions regarding some problems (or possible problems) I'm experiencing so I'll have a better idea of what the dealer in Tampa may tell me.
First the auto trans isn't the smoothest I've seen. I have no experience with Mercedes so may be what I call a problem is merely typical. It seems to go into gear with a "positive" engagement. Not a klunk but more of a mild thud. May be due to the idle rpm at 1100. Sometimes it drops to 800rpm, but trans engagment is the same. Upshifts only OK at moderate acceleration in traffic. Upshift is smoother at more robust acceleration--not drag racing. When slowing down a slight whine can be heard. It goes ayay if you add some throttle, but resumes as you slow down. Not loud but it can be heard.

Next item is the turn signal indicator lights in the dash are so dim they can't be seen in daylight. Neither can you hear the clicking sound when the engine is running. The local dealer says this is normal and there are no brighter bulbs or louder flasher units. That's not an acceptable answer to me.

Finally, there is a slight noise/grating feeling in the brake pedal when backing out of the garage/driveway. On another vehicle (95 Isuzu Trooper)the book says this sound is associated with the self-check of the ABS system. The MB book says nothing of this situation.

Bottom line, should I expect a trans problem and or a brake system problem, or are these things normal?

Will appreciate any comments/advice. Thanks, harcar
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Old 03-16-2001, 11:51 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Lake Geneva, WI.
Posts: 1,676
i would suggest taking your car to Lokey. they very helpful for me. sounds like your SL didn't like sitting for 5 years you may need to have your fluids and some seals changed. i also know a good tech in Oldsmar that may be able to help you out if you are interested. he has fixed many problems with my previously owned MB's.
good luck!
Current Stable:
01 ML55 AMG
92 500E (a few mods)
87 300E (lots of mods)
00 Chevy 3500HD Diesel Box Truck
68 18' Donzi Marine
06 GT i-Drive7 1.0 Mountain Bike (with GPS!)

PREVIOUSLY OWNED:83 300SD, 87 420SEL, 88 420SEL, 90 420SEL, 86 560SEL, 86 190E 2.3-16V AMG, 94 E320

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Old 03-17-2001, 05:15 PM
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Thank, Adam. Sounds lik you're in the Tampa area. Do you have any opinion on the Tampa dealer?
I neglected to include in my original post that I had a lot of work done on the car when I took it out of storage in Northern VA. Oil was put in the cylinders and it sat for 5 days, then turned by hand. All fluids were drained incl gas in tank, trans fluid and filter changes, new rotors and pads, new tires, battery etc. I shipped it to Tampa and had the A/C serviced, new drier and o rings,and switches to operate the aux fan. Not too unhappy with the service except it was in there 4 days.
Do you have a service writer or tech you recommend at Lokey?
Have you experienced the dim turn signal indicators in the older Mercedes? harold
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Old 03-18-2001, 11:31 PM
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560SL Dim Turn Signal Dash Lights

I have a 1989 560SL and the turn signal lights are also dim and the flasher is almost inaudible. Local MB dealer says this is normal.
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Old 03-19-2001, 01:33 AM
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The gear whine is typical on a high milage Benz. The car should idle at 800 or under. 560sl's are excellent performers hope you get it in shape. By the way you will become addicted to this web site.
1990 190E 2.6
1996 Grand Voyager 3.3
1985 Mustang GT 5.0 5 SPD
1982 Suzuki GS 750T
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Old 03-19-2001, 03:58 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: the Netherlands
Posts: 1,417
Originally posted by harcar

Next item is the turn signal indicator lights in the dash are so dim they can't be seen in daylight. Neither can you hear the clicking sound when the engine is running. The local dealer says this is normal and there are no brighter bulbs or louder flasher units. That's not an acceptable answer to me.

The relay of the indicator cannot be heard on the later W107 SL (GREAT relay; MB should have used that in all their models). The dash indicator lights are very dull indeed. If you put in higher Watt-bulbs, you can get some melting of the plastic innerparts...
I think your shop's answer was pretty acceptable.

1990 300SL-24
1993 C250D
with a minor 600+k kilometer
(the Netherlands)
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Old 03-19-2001, 04:49 AM
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My 450sl has bright turn signal indicator so it is possible for this model. I think also that a brighter bulb (if available) can not do any damage to the plastic because they are used only for short periods and they will cool off of a little because they are flashing but that is just my thought.
I once had with a boat that the control lights where also very dim. When I check the problem I found out that the inside of the reflector was dirty. It was a little static and dust was attracted to it.

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Old 03-24-2001, 09:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 51
Used to live in No. Va. (Oakton), but now live in Savannah. Wish I had found your car while I was up there! I have 2 560SLs (1988 with 102,000 and 1987 with 40,300--yep it's a cherry). Both cars exhibit the exact same "thunk" when the transmission is placed in drive--especially noticeable when backing out of the driveway and shifting to Drive. I've talked to others who also have the same complaint. Bottom line is: it's not a problem.

As for the blinker situation, that too is characteristic of the model. Surprised that you didn't mention hearing gas sloshing around in the tank when it is half-full and the radio and other noise makers are off. Both of mine do that as well. Hey, you'll get beyond these little nuisances and what you'll find is a helluva fine auto with lots of power and class.
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Old 03-25-2001, 09:57 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 15
Glad to read your words of encouragement, downeyjc. Guess that was what I was trying to find out all along--what is normal for these cars and what may indicate a potential problem. I have no experience with Mercedes Benz outside of 300 miles in this car, so have no base line to draw from. Couldn't agree with you more re the power and class. Don't feel bad about missing this car when you were in No VA. It was in the family and I acquired it thru very unfortunate circumstances. As for the gas sloshing, I'll watch for that if the tank ever gets low. I keep it filled all the time because I've heard of rust and condensation in tanks that sit a lot.
Thanks for your input and if any other nuisances come to mind, I'd appreciate a note. harcar
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